My experience leads me to say that the tip of the iron should be in contact with the surface of the material being soldered. If the metal is not hot, it will not take the solder well. In the case of copper foil, the metal is so thin it will heat up almost instantaneously. The solder should be added to the heated metal to obtain a good joint. All the advice to hover just above the surface and allow the molten solder to heat the metal below seems to make for hard work suspending the iron, and for possible cold joints.
The principle is that both metals should be hot for a good join. In leaded work you can sweat a joint and get as good (and in some way a more lasting) joint as by having a bead. That is because by adding the minimum of solder (sweating) you will have to get the base metal hot for the thin layer of solder to flow. I feel that many people do not understand the principles of soldering, but look only to the finish. It is possible to have a beautiful joint, or bead and have the joining of the metals technically weak.